Massage Therapy School in Atlanta
There are a lot of people in the Atlanta metro area who could benefit from massage, and to an increasing degree, they are aware of it. There is a growing body of research about the therapeutic effects of massage, and Georgia institutions are contributing to it. Currently the Atlanta School of Massage is partnering with Emory University to study the efficacy of massage for generalized anxiety disorder and cancer-related fatigue.
2019 finds a number of organizations advertising in the Atlanta area, including spas, franchises, chiropractors, and mobile massage companies. The list of businesses even includes XPress Spa, an airport massage company who notes that they have built a reputation as a way of easing the stress of those long airport layovers.
One area of interest in the Atlanta area and around the nation: oncology massage. An article on the Piedmont Healthcare website called attention to the benefits, noting that oncology massage is a specialty, different than traditional massage (https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/benefits-of-oncology-massage). A well-known oncology massage training provider offered a four-day training in oncology massage in Atlanta in the spring of 2018.
Massage therapy is often practiced as one part of a person’s life and livelihood. Massage is physically demanding. A worker generally couldn’t spend 40 hours a week carrying out massage sessions even if he or she could attract that many clients or be booked for that many sessions. Some LMTs have other healthcare jobs. Some practice related modalities; they may, for example, provide instruction in therapeutic movement. Flexible hours are an attraction for some. News articles around the nation have showcased the rich lives – and contributions – of massage therapists. Atlanta Senior News profiled one massage therapist who was also a licensed wildlife rehabilitator (https://seniornewsga.com/NewspapersSN/Atlanta/2013/AtlantaSeniorNewsMay13.pdf).
Popular Massage Therapy Schools in Atlanta
The Atlanta School of Massage has a massage therapy program that includes 750 classroom hours. Students spend 6-12 weeks in clinical internship, depending on whether they are enrolled in the full- or part-time program. The school has been assigned a code by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. It has a long history, going back to 1980.
The Elaine Sterling Institute of Massage Therapy also offers a 750-hour curriculum. Accreditation is through the Council on Occupational Education (COE). Financial aid is available.
Gwinnett College (Lilburn and Sandy Springs) allows students to complete a diploma program in massage therapy or continue on for an associate’s degree. An associate’s in business with a massage therapy concentration is available in Lilburn; an associate’s in massage and natural health is available in Sandy Springs. The basic program is 750 hours and can be completed in nine months. It includes a number of common modalities, including Swedish, deep tissue, and sports massage; there is even coverage of reflexology.
The Atlantic University of Health Sciences (Duluth) offers a 645-hour massage therapy program, which includes Asian bodywork modalities such as Tuina and Qigong in addition to the common Western ones.
Atlanta Massage Practices
The Art of Touch Therapeutic Massage Center is designed for those who value both healing touch and visual art. The facility is an art venue with a revolving collection of art and periodic free discussions. The Art of Touch boasts 22 contract LMTs, and is able to provide many modalities, including deep tissue, pregnancy, oncology, Thai, and even corporate massage. Corporate massage is designed to help with patterns of pain that are often found in the corporate world; it can reduce neck and back pain and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Massage Smart provides Swedish, deep tissue, sports/ stretching, and pregnancy massage. Upgrade options include face massage, hot stone, and foot scrub. The organization also does chair massage at worksites and events.
The Muscle Relaxers website has bios for two LMTs. Modalities touted include myofascial release, neuromuscular therapy, Thai yoga massage, lymphatic drainage, and lypossage, among others. People also go to The Muscle Relaxers for therapeutic movement classes.
Massage for the Elderly
A number of Atlanta massage therapists have put in time as volunteers performing elder massage for the organization Beauty Becomes You. The organization began in the Atlanta metro area and has since spread to other cities. The founder drew inspiration for the name from something her father told her not long before he died: that beauty became her. Beauty Becomes You provides multiple spa services, not just massage; the rationale is that appearance is part of identity, and it’s among the losses people face as a result of aging and illness. Massage, though, as a healthcare practice, has something additional to give. A massage therapist profiled in Massage Magazine recounted teaching muscle release stretch to the elderly at a charity massage event, so that the elders could have lasting benefit even if they couldn’t afford regular massage (https://www.massagemag.com/nonprofit-brings-gentle-touch-seniors-free-84609/).
Those who can afford regular massage can have it in multiple settings, including their own homes. Mobile massage is big. Massage for the frail elderly is a specialty for which advanced training is available.
Atlanta Massage Therapist Salary and Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that massage therapists in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area enjoyed a median hourly wage of $18.23 in 2017. Those at the 25th percentile made just $9.15 while those at the 90th percentile made $27.71. When one factors self-employment into the equation, the actual range of income is wide.
The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metropolitan area is 8th in the nation with regard to the number of massage therapists employed. Population of course plays a part. Georgia, though, has a greater concentration of massage therapist jobs than the majority of Southern states – and the Atlanta area is higher than average for the state!